Today I gave myself a gift… FREEDOM!
Society has forced us into believing that we have to look a certain way. It teaches us to look at disgust as a heavyset girl wears unflattering clothes, yet they are clothes that make her happy. Free. I envy her.
Please don't be offended, I am speaking the words of a tormented person. You see, I am a borderline heavy person, yet I am small framed, with small hips, and small legs and arms. The growth and where I carry most of my weight is in my belly. So I am a small person with a big belly. I constantly live in denial, wearing clothes that keep me disguised as a small person. I have been a slave to wearing oversized clothes and baggy in the belly shirts, just to try to tame and hide the heavier me, the true me.
Here is one of the fallacies that keeps me struggling in this battle. I used to be a college cheerleader. I had a metabolism that could compete with an Olympic athlete. I drank water like a camel and had the most healthiest skin and hair. I was fit, I was tight, I was tiny. I don’t know why I compare the woman I am now, to that young lady of more than a decade ago. She no longer exists, but I still grasp at her as she slips further and further away.
Fast forward 13 years later. It’s still a daily battle. I am fighting to hold onto my former- self, and refusing to embrace the new me, one that is actually carrying battle scars of a very fulfilled life. I am a 34-year-old mother of a 5-year old son, 3-year-old twin boys, and two bonus kids ages 17 and 20 from my husband’s previous marriage. After my first son, the body was still ok. And even then I struggled with the new imperfections. After the twins were born, I carried them, thank God, to 37 weeks. They grew to a hefty six pounds each, and my skin stretched to accommodate them. There was no turning back. At my annual exam, I asked my doctor if the stretchy flab of skin would ever go away. He told me that it couldn’t because it was extra skin and surgery would be the only solution. I don’t judge anyone who has sought out cosmetic surgery. More power to you. But I personally, was not about to go under the knife because stuff like that terrifies the life out of me!
So for three years now, while I don’t have an eating disorder, I have a self-esteem disorder. I have a denial disorder. I have a mental barrier that keeps me from being happy. Every day is a struggle to decide what to wear. I covet the clothes I leave hanging, clothes from my past, clothes that still fit but because they’d show my large belly, I ignore. When I go shopping for clothes, which I hardly do from discouragement, my clothes have to sit just right so the belly is concealed. It is truly the belly of a four or five month pregnant woman. Sometimes, if I wear the wrong clothes, I even walk around with a hand on my belly to fawn a pregnant woman. I teach college English, so that’s another battle. I am in front of a class of young people who often tell my I’m so young-looking and pretty, and they watch everything I wear, so I feel like I have to conceal my true self for them, too. It’s snowballed out of control.
I’m terribly tired. So today… TODAY, I am taking control again. I want to wear the clothes that are beautiful yet hibernate in my closet. I want to go out and buy summer dresses. Today there was a commercial for plastic surgery on the television showing the before and after photos. My 5-year-old said, “Oh, mommy, please don’t EVER do that to me. Don’t ever take your stomach off because I love it so much.” He wrapped his little arms around my waste and rested his head on my soft belly. Today, my husband looked adoringly at me and told me how much he is in love with me. He loves me. He wants me how I am.
As I stood in front of the mirror, staring at the prisoner looking back at me, I felt a surge of empowerment that started from my head and ran to my feet. My heart fluttered. My children love me unconditionally. My husband loves me unconditionally. I am not trying to impress anyone in the dating game, I am not seeking out a modeling contract, I’m a mother, a wife, a teacher, a published author, a child of God! I am HAPPY.
Today I CHOOSE to be free. I finally choose to let go of that stress that hovers. It was as simple as that. I made a decision, and there was no battle. I was the battle. Freedom was simply waiting for me to take it.
I walk over to my closet and pull out a beautiful V-neck shirt with pastels. It hugs my belly. I look four-months pregnant, but I put on the shirt and go over and kiss my husband passionately. “Thank you,” I say.
To my dear sisterhood out there… we are BEAUTIFUL and BRILLIANT. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Not even yourself.
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